Saturday, November 29, 2008

Delightful Caramel Cake

It's that time again.  The Daring Bakers have struck again, and this time it's a truly sweet treat.  How does Carmel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting sound?  I know, I know, it sounds so sweet!  And it is.  Baking this cake came at the most perfect time.  What better time to serve this sweet treat than at Thanksgiving.  

"What, no pumpkin pie?"  Don't get me wrong, I get the whole "pumpkin pie requirement" for Thanksgiving.  It would be a travesty to my family if I didn't have a few of those sweet gourds resting in pie shells baking in the oven.  This year, I even took the time to bake the pumpkin and puree the goodness. But, I digress - that is for another day and another post.

Back to the Caramel Cake.  It was great to offer a slice of Caramel Cake after our Thanksgiving meal. It gave everyone a choice, an alternative to the old faithful standby. And let me tell you, everyone was delighted!  It may have just earned the honor of becoming a Thanksgiving tradition.

The cake.  The cake.  The cake is soooo moist.  The secret ingredient is homemade caramel syrup.  The caramel syrup is added to the batter and adds such depth of flavor.  It really made all the difference in the world.  

This month's Challenge is a recipe from Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater and her signature Caramel Cake.  The recipe is Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon , as published on Bay Area Bites.

Four Daring Bakers teamed up to present and moderate this sweet challenge.  The hosts for the month of November were Dolores from Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity,  Alex of Blondie and Brownie and Jenny of Foray into Food . And to help with alternative baking,  Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go assisted.  


(recipes are courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light.


Diana said...

Your cake looks so beautiful! You did a great job.

Angela said...

Your cake looks fabulous! I love the abstract drizzling of caramel syrup in the middle.

kat said...

I think its the perfect addition to the thanksgiving menu

Megan said...

Your cake looks like a Thanksgiving masterpiece! And your right, this seemed like a perfect Thanksgiving dessert, of course sitting next to a gourd filled pie crust! ;)

Raquel said...

how creative! And the cake looks delish!!!

marye said...

Beautiful job on the cake!

Anonymous said...

Your cake is so pretty - nice frosting job!! and Happy Holidays :)

Anonymous said...

Your cake is so pretty, love how you presented it.
Great job! It was so sweet but in a good way.

BC said...

The recipe turned out moist and delicious for me too! Great addition to a Thanksgiving table.

Candice said...

I love the cranberry vine/wreath presentation!

Lauren said...

Ooo, your cake looks amazing. I love what you did with the icing and caramel on top =D!

Bumblebutton said...

I'd take the caramel cake over any other Thanksgiving dessert in a heartbeat! Yours looks so pretty!

Judy said...

Your cake looks lovely. I'm always one for playing with Thanksgiving traditions, so I agree that this cake would be a perfect addition or substitution.

Anonymous said...

I found myself wishing I had saved the cake for Thanksgiving... then I could alternate my extra helpings of pumpkin pie with cake! :)

Beautifully done!

Joeli said...


Lori said...

That was the secret of the cake wasnt it, the caramel syrup. It made it so tastey and buttery!

Eat4Fun said...

Beautiful looking cake! Great Job!

Amy said...

I understand about the whole "pumpkin pie requirement" - that is why we didn't have Caramel Cake on Thanksgiving. After seeing everyone's results they might just change their minds - this looks fantastic.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

What a beautiful cake you made!

Hannah said...

Your cake looks wonderful, such a lovely presentation too!

Fit Chick said...

Beautiful cake and I love your cake plate! Nice of you to offer a choice of dessert.

Jessica said...

Your cake looks beautiful! Wonderful presentation.

Fran Z said...

ohh Lovely cake! I agree- it was a nice cake for Thanksgiving!

Elra said...

I am so glad that your family enjoy this caramel cake. Well done.

Audax Artifex said...

I think this is better than pumpkin and so so so good. thanks for the comments on my blog. Love the cranberries about and around the cake.

Gretchen Noelle said...

How wonderful that everyone enjoyed it enough to want it again! Superb job!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous cake!

Di said...

Beautiful job on the cake! I love the caramel drizzled on the top.

glamah16 said...

Beautiful cake. It looks perfect the way you presented it for Thanksgiving.

CookiePie said...

Your cake is so pretty! And I love the Thanksgiving presentation.

Dolores said...

Oh, I'm so glad your family enjoyed this year's Thanksgiving interloper. Thanks for baking with us this month! :)

Esther said...

looks fantastic

SweetDesigns said...

What a beautiful Cake! I love the way you displayed it!! Thanks for stopping bye!!

Cristine said...

Looks beautiful!

Katy said...

beautiful! i loved this recipe so much -- i love seeing everyone's creations!

Claire said...

Great cake is just BEAUTIFUL! My family loved it as well. I don't think they'd be disappointed if I made it again next year.

Namratha said...

Very nicely done!